The Paris Meridian in the Napoleonic Wars

  • Paul Murdin
Méchain's unfinished work on the survey of the Paris Meridian in the Balearic Islands was completed by Jean-Baptiste Biot and François Arago.

People Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774–1862)

Biot was educated as a mathematician, with his father intending that he should be active in commerce, but after a spell in the army as a gunner during the revolutionary wars in 1792–94, he became a professor of mathematics. He was appointed to the Paris Observatory in 1806 and later became professor of astronomy at the Paris Faculty of Sciences of the University of France (established by Napoleon in 1808) where he spent the rest of his career. He was an ardent exponent of Newton's Theory of Gravity and his textbook was the one from which Sir George Airy, later the Astronomer Royal at Greenwich, learned astronomy. In 1803, Biot investigated the reports that stones had fallen from the sky at l'Aigle in the Orne. At the time such reports had been thought to be superstition and misguided but regardless Biot...


Balearic Island Custom Officer Paris Observatory Polytechnic School Pendulum Clock 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

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  • Paul Murdin

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